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5 Ways To Effectively Protect Your Intellectual Property

5 Ways To Effectively Protect Your Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is one of the most difficult things to protect. There is no greater hazard to your company than losing these critical pieces of information. Whether they’re plans for new efforts in assembly, or simply the materials you use to train your employees, the risks of losing such information to your competition are real and potentially very expensive over the long term.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

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1. Secure your materials

As with anything valuable, you must secure proprietary information where it is stored and handled. When your valuable are virtual goods like training materials, one of the most important things to consider is comprehensive network security. Failing to implement security is an invite to hackers and thieves to help themselves to your confidential data.

It can be difficult to convince personnel that these steps are as important. It is a worthwhile investment of your time to conduct in-service training or host other activities to impress upon everyone that utilizing the required encryption, password protection, and firewall steps is as important as locking the front door of the Louvre.

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2. Don’t train your tentative employees until they need it

Secure information is often described as being available on a “need to know” basis. If someone doesn’t need to know, don’t tell them. Apart from reducing the amount of training that goes on, this also helps secure data. Imagine taking a new employee through a full week of training on your materials and then losing him or her–and subsequently, the intellectual property–to a competitor. There is always the risk of that happening, but if that employee did not yet need to be trained in so many aspects within the first week, it was an unnecessary risk to have taken.

This also cuts down on wasted effort in training. It can be very exciting when new methods or topics come available, and the temptation can be great to hurry and get ahead of the curve by training personnel as quickly as possible. However, the inevitable bugs associated with the rollout of new versions of any product–concrete or virtual–necessitate a more measured approach in training personnel. That brings us to our next point.

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3. Keep the target moving

Sometimes the best strategy to avoid theft of your intellectual property is to change it. It doesn’t require a complete overhaul of everything you do, just a few basic changes or re-ordering of steps.

A good example of this, on a simpler level, is the evolution of company logos. While we think the Golden Arches at McDonald’s are unchanged from Ray Kroc’s earliest days in the U.S., the fact is that there has been an ongoing evolution in the coloration, shape, font, and so forth ever since it first emerged.

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Think of your training the same way. For starters, any product, service, or system that you are training on will undergo periodic changes. Anything technological certainly will. So sometimes, the mere passage of a few months can make any pirated information obsolete. And if you can accelerate that process, even just a little, your vulnerability is even lower.

As an employee, the knowledge and materials generated by your employer required many hours of work and significant financial investments to create. It is your duty not only to make use of them, but to make sure that they stay in-house where they belong so that those investments pay off.

4. Make a habit of documenting everything

Just keeping patents is simply not enough. When you register your patent and start working on your idea, you start a war with a lot of people who are in same industry. Keeping a journal is a best practice. This journal should include everything from the inception of the idea, every meeting you make, every person you meet. Doing this will help you really grab hold of your idea and aid you in auditing any leaks.

5. Execute your ideas quickly

Our mind is a thinking machine, and sometimes, when it’s on the move, it showers us with noble ideas, but it can also feed us negativity and depression. When you think an idea is worth chasing, you should act on it fast. You’re never sure whether somebody, somewhere, might have a similar idea, and beat you to it. As businessmen put it, idea plus execution plus investment increases your chances of success.

More by this author

Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out

You’ll Only Live Your Best Life Once You Step Out

Fear is a valuable thing. It keeps people safe and encourages caution when caution is due. But Fear can also be a limiting factor because not everything you’re afraid of should really be feared.

Have you ever been faced with a situation where you were afraid of making a decision, making a change or taking a risk?

Did you end up taking that risk or making that decision? Or, did you just stay put and left things as they were? If you did, are you happy with how things have turned out?

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It’s in our nature to like feeling safe–to be in comfort and away from danger. This has always been the case since the beginning of time, when the first humans only knew how to prioritize survival. Even today, many still choose to play it safe and avoid taking risks or taking leaps of faith when it comes to their choices in life.

The Realist and the Dreamer

To put it simply, there are two kinds of people: the realists and the dreamers. The realists are the logical and cautious type of individuals who always think and weigh out the pros and cons before making any decisions–especially the big, life changing ones. Whether it was deciding on what to major in at University, what career path to take, whether or not to purchase that house or car, to go on that holiday, or to splurge on that new watch, the realist thinks long and hard before making a decision, if they even decide. Realists stick to the “what’s next?” plan for the future and may not abstractly consider different possibilities for where life can lead. This is usually because of the confidence they have already devoted to an accepted plan.

Realists have dreams too, but these are more so rooted in ambition, drive and determination. They are goals that have been enumerated for some time. Realists understand that progress requires more than ambition and drive, but also, connections. They feel that life is never worry-free because of survival, responsibility and…paying a rent or a mortgage. As a result, they tend to make safe choices and stick to their comfort of knowing what’s best for themselves.

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Now let’s look at the dreamers. The dreamers are well, dreamers. They have big lofty ambitions, are risk takers, sometimes over impulsive, but they often always challenge the norms of society and dare to think outside the box. This is not to say that they do not have plans or a path that they want to follow. But they are more likely to change the course of their journey through time, experience and by following their heart.

Dreamers derive their inspiration from within. No one else’s perspectives weigh in greatly enough to shift a dreamer’s drive. Dreamers don’t allow their fears to consume them. They may fail from time to time, but they never give up on life or love.

Embrace Fear

So which of the two do you think you are? And is one better than the other? In life, balance is always key. I’m sure you would have heard the saying: “everything in moderation”. Likewise, being a realist isn’t any better than being a dreamer. Both come with their challenges. But what I do know, is that no matter where you are in life, fear should always be seen as a way of pushing you towards becoming a better you.

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Stepping outside of your comfort zone is a type of fear that should be embraced. If you see yourself as a dreamer, then great! Chances are, stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t new to you. Whether it’s deciding to drop out of University to start your own business, moving to a new country on your own, taking that step to ask someone out on a date despite thinking they’re way out of your league, or deciding to quit your high paying job of 10 years to become a DJ. You chose to do that because you knew that you would most likely regret the ‘what ifs’ more than the mistakes (if any) of those decisions.

But if you’ve always been more of a cautious individual (nearing towards being a realist), then I hope you’ll give more thought to embracing the act of stepping out more! Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to start making hasty or bold decisions such as the ones mentioned. It just means opening your mind to the acceptance that stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t a bad thing, it’s not something to be hesitant or afraid of.

Managing Fear

In times of stress or discomfort, remember that some of the best things happen when you’re afraid or put in an uncomfortable situation. These experiences can both challenge you and help you grow. Commit to giving the situation a try with your best effort, and keep expectations low to reduce additional pressure. Living outside of one’s comfort zone is by definition uncomfortable. Therefore, the best habit you can foster within yourself is the practice of becoming familiar with discomfort.

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You may be at a crossroad in life and feeling undecided about something, or you may feel like you’re not happy with where you’re at right now. It could be a job that you’re not happy with, a relationship you’re not happy in, or even just knowing that you’re too comfortable with where you’re at that you don’t feel challenged. All of this uncertainty can be traced back to your intentions. What is it that you want? What is it that you’re looking for?

So, What Are You Looking For?

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or know that you need some sort of change, but you’re just not sure how to take that step towards the change, why not subscribe to our newsletter? Our daily inspiration will help you embark on a journey, and will allow you to find that light at the end of the tunnel you’re searching for.

At Lifehack, we’re dedicated to helping you find the ideal solutions to your problems, and with over 15 years of experience in coaching, we have condensed our knowledge and practices into a highly effective transformational model that you can use to not only help you out of your rut, but to also help you find new and bigger meaning to your life.

Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t always the easiest, but we’re here to make it easier for you to realize your true potential. The time to act is now!

Featured photo credit: Maher El Aridi via unsplash.com

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